How to be a pro in the kitchen
How to cook like a Pro in the Kitchen?
Quite often the only thing we do when we hear the word to cook means -its complicated!
If you can eat an apple without cutting, peel a banana or peel the orange skin off to eat then you are quite right about using your senses and instinct right> So if we were to take it to the next level, as to how we got this far to cook fancy meals, have a kitchen for that matter that helps us feed our bellies.We must have used our common sense right.
Much of the knowledge we posses is to what we got to learn from observation, and survival skills to give us energy and feel good.
I always say the term cooking implies that we feed ourselves not just because we have to cut, chop and make a sauce out of it, but the way which helps us digest our food better and in a way way that helps us when we are cooking for one to many!
Imagine this knowing how to cook on fire was a brainstorming event by someone -where we used that heat to cook and improve the quality of food to eat.
Now that we know we can create wonders by using the fire, we need to check these and improve these important skills listed below to make our lives interesting and enrich it with the power of knowledge that we can build to create master pieces.
Some handy tips to follow through in the kitchen space
- Mis en place
- Knife Skills
- Using Salts,acid, fat and heat
- Building layers of flavour
- Brining to Braising
- Steaming- Caramalsing
- Raw food-meat
- Make your own
- Observation- touch, taste and improve.
Having a busy kitchen with many things on and around us only make it messy and looks disorganised. I am a home chef first, but you kind of get a different feel when you are at catering school, because what they tell you is to to make your life easier by staying organised in the kitchen, know what you are making, if following a recipe read the method first or the instructions on how to make the dish- this will give you give you an insight to how you can organise and plan to cook the dish.
Some people get put off as to how many ingredients you have to source, but fear not when you read the instructions it will tell you the process in a visual way, we need onions finely diced in a medium pot with oil in it.
Plan, prepare and process;
In short- group the ingredients which needs to go first, it saves times while you invest in the process of making the dish.
Know how to-
- Braising- mastering this technique its a huge game changer
Sear the meat after brining builds the flavour, develop more texture .
- Caramalising the onions low and slow to recess the onions, natural sugars of celery, carrot and onions-called aromatics make up the work to cook the process which also needs patience, you don’t expect masterpieces to be a fast process- so patience is really the key working the heat low and slow.
Understanding your spices-
Look at your spice rack and wonder why you bought them exactly and how to use them sensibly. using whole spices and making a blend to improvise flavour, using garlic and roasting your whole spices.
Essentials in the kitchen:
- pots, pans storage.
- Gadgets to cut peel chop
- Blazer, hand blender, kitchen aid
We need acidic elements natural- like tomatoes ,lemon juice, vinegar or red wine!
- Slow cooking in a liquid is called braising, Now don’t be tempted to keep opening the pot in-between to see if its cooked, each meat is different and will cook according to its tissue structure.. so follow the guiltiness but use you won initiative to judge the process.
- Brining-Salting your meat improves by dry rub rather than marinating it as it takes longer for the moisture of marinate to penetrate the meat hence the process is longer.
Good cooking comes with building the flavours and not the end process of how tit looks.
We are now tempted to see instagram for guidelines as to how the dish will look rather than taste, one of the things which can be deceiving is a picture, as does speak a lot about the look but gives your the description of taste but you know that it when you taste you can have the say as to how delicious or flavoursome it was!
Last layer is the freshness which will pop out and is called the end process or the final signature touch of the chef to call it Wow I’ ve made this!
- Zero waste– use the left over liquid or stock to build something new you can have another dish for another day.
Making home made bread is nostalgic to my eyes ears and tongue.
Basic breads, to name a few- flat breads, sour dough bread, Irish soda bread doesn’t need much work.But the warm smell of bread that hits your senses in the kitchen, I mean nothing can buy that feeling right.
Pay more attention and learning through mistakes…your ideas will grow just like that because you know how, little cooking skills you can master.
How to cook rice from left over stock
Learning to cook from left overs, a constant battle for some, for someone like me, I hate food waste, less washing up and most of all fancy any new ideas that pop up to create something new and feed the family.
Flavoured rice- I have cooked it so many times with many variations, leftovers and revamped my left over rice not just Chinese, but just flavoured with simple stock.
The reason I love this dish its full of flavour and that comes from the left over stock of chicken roast I did earlier this week and I had to use them as I often forget that I’ve left them in the freezer. ( I hate things in the freezer apart from ice creams, some chilli, some cheese and herbs-nothing should be in there in my opinion) now that’s another story I got to tell you in another post.
Surprisingly there is minimum effort here as the stock is full of flavours and All I need to do is cook some rice into the stock instead of water!
You could add some left over chicken or any other meat you fancy but to keep it simple!
Almost like a stir fried rice but cooked with fresh rice.
I am a queen for customising a dish…I added a Persian touch with pomegranate and saffron !
As easy as it sounds, a one pot dish! A mish mash of cusine and simple dish if you like!
- 4 cups Basmati Rice
- 4 tbsp Salt
- 8 cups water
- 2 tbsp Olive oil or Ghee
- 1 cup good quality Chicken stock or left over stock
- 2 tbsp Saffron bloomed
- Choose a good quality Basmati rice, wash it once or twice to remove industrial dust and starch. Soak it in cold water for about 30 min
- In a large non-stick cooking pot, heat some ghee or oil
- Drain the washed and soaked rice and add it to the cooking pot when the oil is hot enough
- Meanwhile boil some hot water
- Make sure the rice is well coated with ghee and close enough sticking to the pan
- Now add the reserved stock or the boiling water to it with some salt in it to cook
- Leave it cook for about 10-12 min or so till you see pockets of bubbles in the pan
- Switch off the pan, the liquid reserve should look nearly evoporated and the steam will cook the rice through when you close the lid
- I make little pocket to let the steam out as i dont want it look overcooked and let the steam escape for 4-5 min, (Close the lid after you have let some fo the steam escape)Now judgement is a big thing there, dont be tempted to keep removing the lid while this proces is through.
- Add the saffron to the finished rice
- Garnish it with herbs, nuts or pomogrante seeds and serve it warm with stew or curry!½